updated 12/8/2006 3:47:17 PM ET 2006-12-08T20:47:17

Shares of Barclays PLC rose more Friday after an investment analyst advised clients that Bank of America Corp. may be interested in bidding for the London-based banking company.

"Bank of America has previously indicated that the next phase of its expansion is to become a leading global commercial and investment bank," Merrill Lynch research analyst Edward Najarian wrote in a note to clients Friday. "In order to achieve that goal, we believe Bank of America is very interested in acquiring Barclays."

Barclays' U.S. shares rose $1.91, or 3.4 percent, to $57.70 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while Bank of America share fell $1.06, or 2 percent, to $51.34.

Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said it is the bank's policy not to "comment on market rumor or speculation."

Barclay's spokesmen in London and New York said the company did not comment on market rumors.

Barclays, the United Kingdom's third-largest bank by market capitalization, would give Bank of America a significant international presence as well as a major U.K. retail and commercial bank and the U.K.'s biggest credit-card business, Najarian wrote.

"We think Barclays is the perfect fit for Bank of America, given our understanding of Bank of America's international aspirations," he wrote.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., is currently the second-largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization behind Citigroup Inc.

Bank of America wants to make itself a leader in global businesses such as treasury management, asset management and fixed-income underwriting and trading, Najarian wrote.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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